MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas


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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #45

by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

They know you and all your habits: Those closest to you; Your family; Your best friends; work acquaintances; Classmates and even those at your favorite restaurant. Sooner or later they can get on your nerves.

Asking too many questions. Accidentally bumping into you on your worst day. Looking at you funny when you are grumpiest. This could be you.

For George Harrison of The Beatles, this was happening all too often in 1968. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon didn’t get along with George or each other. The Fab Four were not Rock gods, just Human.

When things get weird with those closest to you, it is okay to reach out to a friend outside the group.  For George it was Eric Clapton. George was into the Chinese I Ching.  This is a cosmological and philosophical way of explaining that all things happen for a reason. George thought if he asked Eric to play on his song then what was meant to be would be for the recording.

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #46

by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

When a friend gives advice, it ususally comes when they notice something is not quite right. In 1974 brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, the Bee Gees music group, were stuck in rut. They had already produced 10 albums for worldwide distribution, but they were not inspired to perform.. Their friend Eric Clapton, fresh from the breakup of his band Derek and the Dominos, just finished a solo recoding session in Miami, Florida. Eric suggested his Ocean Boulevard digs.

Eric was brave enough to speak out of concern. Barry later admitted that it was good advice. Nobody argues with change when it promotes something positive to develop. Most of the time it forces us to stop doing the same old same old. While in America’s sunshine state, the Bee Gees’ music stylings began to head in a new direction. They re-recorded previous tracks with a more R&B style. They even hinted in their lyrics that this new approach might be a failure.

In 1975 when they released the Main Course album their new sound and entertainment stylings were more energetic than previous efforts. The album stayed on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart for 74 straight weeks. A vindication for the reinvention of their music style.

Change is good, but it can hurt. No matter how many times we think we are in a groove, we can look at ourselves in a new way. Deciding to become a better person usually starts with asking the question: “Can’t you feel the wind of change?”

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #47

by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

Deep seeded memories can be as happy as hugs, kisses, laughter, smells, and compassion. Alternatively, we can sustain images of cruelty, neglect or harmful incidents.
This was the mindset of Americans after the Civil War (1861-1865) digging the graves of honorable veterans. Our grandparents and great-grandparents and their forebears were devastated and torn apart by violent conflict in this land we call home.

Canadian composer Robbie Robertson and his music project, The Band, took the view that this aspect of America’s homegrown war deserved a closer look. Robbie had been working on the song with founding band member Levon Helm in Woodstock.

They researched the Union Army’s “Stoneman Raids” and developed a song about Virgil. It is from this poor southerner’s perspective that the 1969 ballad expressed the sadness of a citizen crushed by the might of his own countrymen’s military fury.

The sorrowful lament was unranked when The Band released the record. It was thoughtfully re-released as a cover by American folk singer Joan Baez in 1971. War is hell.

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In Memoriam: Gregg Allman

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Rest in Peace: Gregory Lenoir “Gregg” Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017). Gregg, an American musician, singer and songwriter, began his career in southern rock with his brother, Duane Allman, Berry Oakley, Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson,  Dickey Betts,  Butch Trucks, and Reese Wynans. The group took the name The Allman Brothers Band and broke ground in 1969 as the first rock and roll group with two lead guitars and two drummers.

The Allman Brothers Band began to reach mainstream success by the early 1970s, with their first live album “At Fillmore East.This was the first ever live album released by an American rock and roll group. It was certified platinum in 2004. Continue reading


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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #48

by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

More than 2,500 years ago Greek story writer Aesop used fables to illustrate new perspectives. This allowed the audience to walk in “another’s shoes.” The ‘Boys and Frogs’ fable explains how some hell-raising boys decided to hurl stones at a small army of pond frogs for the fun of it.

This causes one of the frogs to raise its head and say,” I beg you stop, boys. What is sport to you is death to us.” The moral is “one person’s pleasure can be another’s pain.” This happened to the British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).

 

Accordingly, Keith Emerson really did not want to release the late edition Greg Lake track. Greg had composed the song when he was only 12 years old. The lyrics celebrated a man whose fortune came with a high price.

Drummer Carl Palmer had to engineer the acoustic rendition and develop the recording with layers of sound in an effort to capture its “minstrel” feel.

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #49

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Sometimes longing for something that is dead and gone is a sad memory and not regret. Feeling love for someone who does not want to love you (anymore) is a kind of pain that just cannot be quantified. Loving deeply can hurt your heart just like sadness sometimes.

Early in 1970 Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger had been working with American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist Ingram Cecil Connor III (AKA Gram Parsons of The Byrds). Parsons is best known as a country music genius who may have well been the ‘father’ of Southern-fried rock. The two of them hashed out a song that Jagger says could have been about his newly ended love interest Marianne Faithfull. She was one of the lead female artists during the musical “British Invasion ” in America.

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #50

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

The countdown begins with one of the most curious songs eliciting empathy and confusion at the same time. While many lament the loss of a loved one, sometimes that loved one is a pet. We all know that connections with creatures can be very comforting and deserve to be recognized as true and an important part of the Human experience.

In 1975 songwriter Henry Gross became aware of the death of Shannon, the pet Irish Setter of Beach Boys member Carl Wilson. The loss inspired Henry to create. The song “Shannon” became an international hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Cash Box Top 100. This type of sorrowful homage is not often expressed but is a legitimate reason that we grieve. Continue reading